General Guidelines for Eating Out on the UnDiet

Before ordering an appetizer or drink peruse the menu and decide whether you'll be having a Protein, Starch or Neutral (veggies, nuts, tofu) Meal, then order your appetizer and drinks accordingly.

When the waiter comes to the table, ask if there are any whole grain breads which can be substituted for some or all (depending on who you're eating with) of the regular rolls. If not, or if you're having a Protein Meal, don't eat the rolls.

If you're having Protein or in Weight Loss, ask the waiter to replace the white rice, potatoes, or pasta with vegetables.

If you're having a Starch ask the waiter to replace the white rice or pasta with vegetables.

Order an interesting Fruit or vegetable juice drink or favorable appetizer (small salad, veggie plate, Fruit ...) if you don't think you can survive watching everyone else eat from the bread basket. If you really feel you need a treat, order a glass of red wine, a bottle of sparkling water and mix the two.

Since few restaurants use whole grains, you'll find that it's usually easier to choose a Protein or Neutral Meal when eating out.

A burger is fine, just ask the waiter to bring it without the bun (it's easier to not eat something that's you never even see).

A tuna or chicken salad alone or on greens is a good choice, just don't order it as a sandwich filling.

And of course there's steak, shrimp, chicken, etc. dishes. Just make sure they don't contain any breading. Don't worry about fat in these dishes.

A baked potato topped with butter, and/or salsa, bruschetta topping or steamed veggies makes a good Starch Meal, especially with a side salad or all vegetable dish from the al la carte menu. Even a little sour cream or cheese is okay.

Many soups are hearty enough to make a meal, especially if you add a salad, or a sandwich (if you can get it on whole grain bread and the soup is Neutral or Starch). Be careful of cream soups as as they often also contain milk (cream is Neutral). Be careful of Starch soups as they often contain chicken or beef broth. In the end it's usually best to choose a Neutral soup (vegetables and/or tofu with any type of broth which matches the rest of your meal) or a Protein soup (meat with clear or cream broth as long as it doesn't contain milk). Note: while milk is not the best choice it's permissible on occasion.

If you're often walking away from a restaurant feeling guilty about the meal you've just eaten then don't even open the menu. Avoid temptation by ordering items that any restaurant will have such as steamed, grilled, or roasted veggies, a large green salad, a grilled chicken salad, ask the waiter what soup they have, order a burger without the bun topped with mushrooms and cheese ...

Fast Food

If you're ordering a salad, ask for Italian vinagerette as it's less likely to contain sugars.

Most fast food restaurants serve a grilled chicken salad which is a great Protein meal.

The salad bar is a good choice if you don't mix Starches and Proteins and forgo the pasta, potato and bean salads (they all contain sugar).

Supermarkets & Deli's

precut Fruits

precut veggies


Black Bean Salad: one can of black beans, drain, add water to the can, stir beans inside can and drain water. Do this several times. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh salsa from the salad bar or purchase from the refrigerated section. Dice half a cucumber (or add slices from the salad bar). Add an oil and vinegar dressing. You may also want to add some cilantro leaves.

White Bean Salad:one can of white beans. Drain, rinse, etc. Add half a diced or sliced cucumber, 1/8 cup olives, 1/2 of a diced or sliced tomato. Dress with an oil and vinegar dressing. You could also add some fresh mint leaves and 1/8 cup low-fat feta cheese.

Sandwiches and Breads

If they have truly whole grain bread, bagels, or english muffins (you gotta' read the label even when the package says "whole wheat" as that is often not true) you can make a sandwich from the salad bar, drizzled with a little dressing. If you like you can also add a slice of Soymage cheese from the dairy section, or fresh herbs from the produce section.

You could also use the bread or muffins for bruschetta. Ask the deli counter to lightly toast the bread. Then in a small disposable container mix these items from the salad bar: chopped or sliced olives, chopped tomato, oil and vinegar dressing (or ask the deli counter for a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar). Top your toasted bread with a few fresh basil leaves, then your bruschetta mixture.

Tortilla Rollups:


If you want to cut down on your fat intake ask the waiter to refrain from bringing tortilla chips to your table. If you're planning a Starch Meal, ask for warm corn tortillas instead.

If you're having a Protein meal and want an appetizer have a Fruit or veggie plate, or other compatible pick from the Appetizer menu.

Avoid the white flour tortillas, but if you like the fillings ask for that menu item without the tortilla and eat it as is or pile it on top of a salad. If it's a Veggie filling ask for corn instead of flour tortillas.

Avoid the white rice dishes.

Chili Rejellenos are a good Protein Meal.

Avoid the corn tortillas unless you're planning a Starch Meal.

Vegetable or beef based soups are good choices. Remember chicken broth is too acidic.

Bean dishes are fine, especially if they're low-fat, just make sure to ask the waiter to skip the cheese.


If you want a Starch Meal soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour, just skip any Protein additions to the dish, or ask to substitute tofu for the meat.

Lots of good Veggie Meals. Ask for soba noodles in place of white rice.

Lots of good Protein Meals, just ask for veggies or tofu as a substitute for any rice or noodles.

Most soups are good choices, and with the new research it's now okay to have a beef or chicken broth soup with a Starch meal.


Many curries are great Protein, Veggie or Starch Meals. Just avoid the white rice and any sweet and sour dishes. Ask to substitute veggies, tofu or beans for the rice in a Veggie or Starch Meal.

Skip the bread as it's all made with white flour.

Vegetable or beef based soups are good choices. Remember chicken broth is too acidic.

If you love chutneys (again avoid sweet and sour ones) you can have them with anything.


Skip the bread, pizza and pasta (white flour), or bring your own whole grain pasta and ask the chef to cook it for you. I've never run into a restaurant that won't accommodate a request like this.

If you must have pizza, don't eat the crust. Either use a fork to eat just the cheese and toppings or order cooked eggplant to use in place of the crust.

Antipasto is a good Protein Meal, although try to avoid the cheese.

Vegetable or beef based soups are good choices. Remember chicken broth is too acidic.

Order your favorite pasta sauce served over steamed veggies instead of pasta.

If you've had a Protein Meal, the gelato isn't a bad choice for dessert, or have a glass of wine while everyone else eats dessert.

Road Trip

Pack plenty of fresh Fruits for breakfast. You may even want to continue eating fresh Fruits until dinner time. It's easy and will give you a chance to lose a little more weight and cleanse your system of toxins and past dietary mistakes.

If however, you'd rather move up the dietary pyramid for lunch, then pack lots of veggie sticks, Starch or Protein sandwiches, or fill and roll up some whole wheat tortillas.

Dinner can be as simple as cold chicken, a sandwich or a tortilla.

Or you can use the supermarket guidelines to pick up food along the way, putting any leftovers in a cooler.

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last revised January 5, 2005
Copyright Kathleane C. O'Leary 1997-2005 all rights reserved
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